Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:38 am on Monday, October 27, 2014

Man, these Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins are tasty. Sweet and tender and just a little chocolatey.

I used frozen roasted pumpkin I had in the freezer from last fall (got to make room in the freezer for more pumpkin) but you can use canned pumpkin if you want. Here’s the recipe.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins
(Makes 12-16 muffins)


    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup wheat flour
    1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/2 teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
    1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    1/3 cup milk (I used 2% milk)
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    6 Tablespoons butter
    1 cup white sugar
    1/3 cup dark sugar
    2 eggs
    1 cup pumpkin puree, canned or fresh
    1/2-1 cup chocolate chips


If using fresh pumpkin, roast or microwave until soft, then blend until smooth.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all the dry ingredients and mix together.

In another bowl, mix together the milk and vanilla. Melt butter until soft and add to the milk and vanilla. Add the sugar.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

Mix in the pumpkin puree.

Add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients in three batches and stir until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Grease a muffin pan. Spoon the batter, roughly 1/3 cup per muffin.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a knife inserted into the middle muffin comes out clean. Enjoy!

Make Your Own Kale Chips

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 9:05 am on Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Almost by accident, I grew a lot of kale this year. I put a few seeds in the ground, and suddenly I had a ton of it.

So I tried making kale chips with it in my oven. It was insanely easy and took only 10 minutes. The kale chips were crisp and tasty:

What do kale chips cost? $15 dollars a pound, or something? These cost me about $.50 to make.

The only complaint I have about this recipe is that the chips get stale pretty quickly, so only make small batches at time.

Baked Kale Chips


    8 kale leaves
    1-2 Tablespoons olive oil


Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Wash and clean the kale leaves. Remove the ribs of the kale and cut into 2-inch piece. In a bowl, toss the kale with olive oil and about a half teaspoon of salt.

Lay the kale leaves onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake until the kale chips are crisp, about 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Halloween Cocktail: Deadly Nightshade

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:12 am on Friday, October 17, 2014

savvyhousekeeping halloween cocktail deadly nightshade

As promised, here’s the other cocktail I made up with DIY Cocktails. It’s called Deadly Nightshade.

The drink is a mix of black current juice, current liqueur, and bourbon. We also added some grapes in the glass for a creepy garnish. It’s a bit more manly tasting than the Blood Orange Margarita, but both drinks would be great at a Halloween party. Recipe:

Deadly Nightshade


    1 1/2 oz bourbon
    2 oz black currant juice
    1/2 oz simple syrup
    1/2 oz. creme de cassis (current liqueur)
    club soda
    8 or so grapes to garnish


Shake bourbon, juice, syrup, and liqueur over ice and strain into cocktail or old-fashioned glass. Add some ice and a small handful of red or black grapes. Top off with club soda. Enjoy.

Make These Fox Shaped Sugar Cookies

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:49 am on Thursday, October 16, 2014

These Fox Shaped Sugar Cookies are so cute. And they don’t look hard to make. The tutorial shows you how.

Real Macaroni and Cheese

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:16 am on Tuesday, October 7, 2014

savvyhousekeeping real macaroni and cheese mac recipe comfort food fall kids

Here’s my recipe for real macaroni and cheese. I call it real because it has no bread crumbs, no peas, no ham, and certainly no powdered dairy substances in it. It’s just cheese, elbow macaroni noodles, milk, butter, flour, salt, and pepper. It’s the ultimate in comfort food and perfect for fall. No kid will turn it down.

Much of the time when you get macaroni and cheese in a restaurant–even in a nice restaurant–you end up with an orange-colored puddle at the bottom of your bowl. That’s because of one of two thing: 1. the restaurant was cheap and didn’t use enough cheese or 2. they didn’t let the sauce thicken before putting it in the macaroni.

That’s a shame. Macaroni and cheese is all about texture. You want the crust on top, the cheesy/creamy sauce below, and the noodles balancing everything out. To insure the last point, I buy the large-sized macaroni noodles. They seem to hold the cheese better and are more satisfying to eat.

Now for the million dollar question: what kind of cheese? In this recipe, I use cheddar, jack, and mozzarella, but there are lots of combinations you can go with. For example, if you want to go fancy, try mozzarella, Gruyère, and a touch of Gouda. Or add in some Parmesan or Edam or even goat cheese. In fact, any cheese that melts will work, but I wouldn’t put in more than three at a time. More than that and the flavors tend to get a little muddled.

savvyhousekeeping real macaroni and cheese mac recipe comfort food fall kids

Real Macaroni and Cheese
(serves 3-4 people)


    3 1/2 c cheese, broken down like so: 1 1/4 c cheddar, 1 1/4 c jack, 1 cup mozzarella
    2 c large elbow macaroni
    2 c milk
    3 Tbs butter
    3 Tbs flour
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp pepper


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Put on a pot of salted, boiling water and cook the pasta until done, about 10 minutes. Drain and transfer the pasta to a casserole dish.

Grate the cheese. Next, melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir until it thickens into a paste-like substance. Pour about half a cup of milk into the flour/butter and stir until that thickens. Repeat until you have added the entire 2 cups of milk. Add the salt and pepper and taste.

Next, add all but 1/2 cup of the cheese to the sauce. Slowly stir until the cheese has melted. If you have done this right, the sauce will almost have the consistency of Velveeta (but it won’t taste like it!). If it is watery, simply let it sit on the stove for a moment or two, stirring until it thickens. Taste the sauce. If you want to eat the whole thing right then, it is ready.

Pour the sauce over the macaroni and cheese. With a spoon, gently stir so that the cheese distributes around the noodles. If it still looks watery, you can add a little grated cheese to absorb the extra moisture. Finally, top the whole thing with the remaining half cup of cheese for the crust.

Stick the macaroni and cheese in the oven and let cook 30-35 minutes. Next, put the oven on broil and let the macaroni and cheese sit for about 5 minutes more. Make sure to keep an eye on it. When the top starts to get golden brown, it’s done.

Remove from the oven. Let sit 7-10 minutes. This last step is important for the cheese to congeal and the crust to form, so don’t skip it. And, as always, enjoy!

5 Apple Recipes

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:05 am on Monday, September 29, 2014

I love apples! They are so versatile. Here are a few apple recipes to consider:

Apple Walnut Tart with Maple Custard. It looks gorgeous, at least.

Apple-Maple French Toast

French Apple Cake

Easy Apple Butter

Apple Brown Bourbon Cocktail

How To Make Tomato Paste

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:56 am on Thursday, September 25, 2014

Innnnnteresting: How To Make Tomato Paste.

Easy Roasted Acorn Squash

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:41 am on Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Here’s my no-fail way to cook acorn squash. I usually serve it as a side with meat, but it can also be used in a host of other dishes–add the squash to risotto, use it as stuffing for raviolis, etc. However it’s prepared, I find this dish is well-received, even by people who are not that into eating vegetables.

Easy Roasted Acorn Squash


    1 acorn squash
    3-4 Tbs butter
    2-3 Tbs bourbon
    Salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Cut the acorn squash in half. Remove the seeds and lay face up on an oiled pan. Brush with bourbon (if you prefer, you can sprinkle with brown sugar instead) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Break the butter up into chunks and lay around the rim and in the center of the squash.

Put the squash in the oven and cook until soft, about 40 minutes. Serve right away. Enjoy!

Peach Mint Julep

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:56 am on Wednesday, September 17, 2014

This being the end of summer, we’ve got a lot of peaches and mint on hand, two flavors that (surprisingly) go great together. So DIY Cocktails and I decided to make a Peach Mint Julep.

The recipe is for one drink, but it would be great to make a pitcher and drink them on a rocking chair on a porch, Southern style.

What a refreshing way to celebrate the end of summer.

Peach Mint Julep


    1 peeled peach
    3/4 ounce simple syrup
    3 sprigs mint
    2 ounces bourbon
    Sparkling water or tonic water
    Crushed ice


Peel the peach. Cut into sections and remove the pit. (If you can’t get fresh peaches, frozen peaches should work well too.)

Strip the mint leaves off the mint sprig and discard the stem.

Combine mint, peaches, simple syrup, and bourbon in a cocktail shaker. Thoroughly muddle until the peach is smashed and has released its juices.

Pour into a glass and put a layer of crushed ice on top. Top with sparkling water. Enjoy!

Pepper Jam

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:50 am on Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Town Hall is a restaurant in San Francisco and they make a great pepper jam that they serve with buttermilk biscuits. One day, when contemplating what to do with all the peppers I grew, I checked to see I could find the recipe. It turns out there’s a cookbook by the Town Hall chef and the pepper jam recipe is online.

I made the recipe and was pleased with the results. The jam is sweet with a spicy kick. I served it at a party I had and it was a hit. Here’s the recipe:

Pepper Jam

(Adapted from Cooking My Way Back Home)


    3 bell peppers (I used chocolate bell peppers)
    3 1/4 c sugar
    3/4 c cider vinegar
    1 tsp dried chile flakes
    3 oz liquid pectin


Clean and sterilize 2-3 jars and lids.

Halve the peppers lengthwise and remove stems, seeds, and membranes. Chop into 1-inch pieces. Pulse the peppers in a food processor until finely chopped.

Put the peppers to a heavy-bottomed pot and add the sugar, vinegar, and chile flakes.

Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Lower the heat to medium-high, add the pectin, and cook, stirring until the jam registers 220°F on a candy thermometer.

Remove the jam from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to the jars. You can seal them using this method or store in the refrigerator for up to a month. Enjoy!

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